Dysphagia in Connecticut
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What is dysphagia?
Dysphagia is a person's struggle to swallow food and/or liquid. There may be several answers as to why an individual might experience dysphagia. It could be due to spasms in the muscle in the throat or esophagus because they didn’t chew their food thoroughly or additional internal complications. Dysphagia can also refer to the feeling of food being stuck in one's chest or neck area. If you have such symptoms and need care for dysphagia in Connecticut, help is available. Contact our knowledgeable gastrointestinal specialists at a Connecticut GI location near you at your earliest convenience to find out more about solutions we can offer to assist you in getting back to a better life.
What causes dysphagia?
Two types of dysphagia may be diagnosed by a GI provider, and the causes are unique for each type.
The type known as oropharyngeal dysphagia describes trouble when beginning a swallow. Neuromuscular causes are more typical with this form of dysphagia. This is because the muscles of the mouth, the back of the throat, and the upper esophagus have direct connections with the brain. Nerves in these areas are not immune to damage, which can result in issues with swallowing.
In some cases, narrowed areas in the esophagus (strictures) or tumors forming in the back portion of the throat can lead to trouble with swallowing.
The condition referred to as esophageal dysphagia has multitudinous causes, some of the most typical being:
- Achalasia (when the lower esophageal sphincter can’t relax while swallowing due to abnormal nerve control)
- Esophageal muscle weakness
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
- Swelling in the esophagus due to reflux
- Esophageal spasms
- Foreign body blockage in the esophagus
- Scarring in the esophagus from acid reflux (GERD)
What are some symptoms of dysphagia?
Though symptoms can vary from person to person, there are common signs and symptoms. Some of these signs and symptoms can include:
- Excessive salivation
- Food impaction (food getting stuck)
- Acid reflux
- Inability to swallow
- Unexplained weight loss
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Chest pain
- Pain when swallowing
- Gagging or coughing while swallowing
- Food or liquid regurgitates through your nose
- The sensation of food being stuck in your throat or chest
Should you notice any of the above symptoms of dysphagia or trouble swallowing, please call one of our GI locations in Connecticut to request a consultation with a specialist.
What are the treatments for dysphagia?
At Connecticut GI, we provide several treatment options to best address the personalized needs of our patients. The most common treatments for dysphagia involve:
- Learning exercises to re-stimulate the nerves that initiate the swallowing reflex
- Implementing different swallowing techniques
- Dilation of the esophagus
- Medications to reduce acid reflux, corticosteroids, or muscle relaxants
- Special liquid diet or feeding tube (for extreme cases)
Alleviate troubling dysphagia symptoms
If you or a family member are experiencing the symptoms of dysphagia in Connecticut, help is available. Request an appointment with a GI provider at a Connecticut GI location at your earliest convenience if you experience any combination of the above symptoms on a regular basis. It is essential to meet with your provider as soon as possible if weight loss or vomiting accompanies any trouble swallowing.
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